Steph Catley is here to stay in north London after committing her future to the club with a new contract.
Our No 7 has proven herself to be one of the Women's Super League's most consistent defenders over the past two seasons, providing quality and control in all phases of play.
At 29 years of age, Catley could have started to assess her options elsewhere, but the thought never crossed her mind.
"I don’t think at this stage I’d be happier anywhere else," said our Australian international. "This feels like home, I’ve made some incredible friendships here and when the offer came around I knew exactly what I wanted to do and exactly where I wanted to be.
"It felt natural and there wasn’t much of a thought process for me. I do feel like I’ve found a home here and I feel like the friendships I’ve made are some of the strongest I’ve had in my life. I’ve never been happier playing football and I feel like this team is very very special, we’re building something very, very special and in the future, we’re capable of achieving anything.
"I think when you sign on at a club like Arsenal you’re not sure where it’s going to take you and you’re not sure how it’s going to go, and I’ve had lots of ups and downs and had a lot of injuries in that first year, so it almost doesn’t feel like it ever happened, but I’m very proud from overcoming some of those challenges and then winning the Conti Cup this year and doing as well as we did in the Champions League.
"There’s just been so many great moments and I just feel like I’ve never felt this passionately about a club and never wanted to be part of success so bad for the people around me and everyone that works at the club. I mean, that’s enough reason for me to stay."
The 2022/23 season has been a testing period for our players, both physically and mentally, but how does Catley reflect on our campaign?
"I think just pride mostly. I’ve never been a part of a group or team that’s been through as much adversity as we’ve been through this year, losing the players that we did in the way that we did, it was quite traumatising at times and very upsetting.
"We’ve been through a lot of emotions as a team, but I think the way that we came back, the way that we fought on the field and the way that we played, the way we never give up and the energy and the fight that we put into every game, I think everybody can see it and there’s a real deep desire and a real emotional attachment to this group at the moment.
"I’ve never felt anything like it before and it’s extremely powerful and it’s something that I know we can take into future seasons and build on and with everyone coming back we’re only going to get stronger."
"I think it just says a lot about the relationships in the team and I think the strongest part about being in the team is when you can look at the person across from you and know that they’re absolutely going to give 100 per cent and give everything that they have when they’re on the field, and when you’ve got 11 players all doing that at the same time I think you’re almost unstoppable.
"We’ve got quality in this team from the No 1 player all the way down to the youngest player who can step in and do a role and I think that just shows depth in quality and also a hunger and belief that is very very special."
To hear more from Steph Catley, click play on her video interview above.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.